The resignation of the President of SNCF Network, Jacques Rapoport, announced Wednesday, is a symptom of a deeper malaise within the public company, facing a financial equation considered impossible, in the opinion of many connoisseurs sector.
in a brief statement, the Secretary of State for Transport Alain Vidal said Wednesday that Mr. Rapoport had wanted to end “for personal reasons” for his duties. Enarque former tax inspector, Jacques Rapoport was appointed in December 2012 at the head of Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) and SNCF Network since July 2015. He was also Deputy CEO of SNCF.
the announcement comes a few days yet of a board of directors and group monitoring, preparing to close the accounts for the year 2015, and set the value of its assets according to the trade-offs that will delivered by the state. It also comes at a time when revelations about the railway accident of Brétigny, who had 7 dead July 12, 2013, accumulate in the press.
“At the age of 64 in a few weeks I reach the limit of statutory age of my duties (…) in just over a year, “explains Jacques Rapoport in his resignation letter. “I am unable, therefore, to place the action in this temporality necessarily long,” he said.
When contacted, the former president denies any link between his departure and Brétigny or the “performance contracts” to be signed with the state railway network for the targets to be met by the company and the financial means to match. However, the delay in the conclusion of the contract deprives SNCF network of any financial visibility.
To justify himself, Mr. Rapoport also recalls that it has completed the effective railway reform on 1 January 2015, which reunited the SNCF and infrastructure manager Réseau Ferré de France ( RFF). “It was the right time to appoint someone who has the time ahead,” he says
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From side of the unions, the resignation was rather surprised. “In a period with high stakes, the boss goes, this is not a positive signal,” says Roger Dillenseger, deputy secretary general of the UNSA-rail. Same story on the side of the CFDT Railwaymen, who “regrets” the start of a “man of dialogue”.
According to several specialists, Mr. Rapoport would have found himself in an impossible situation, n ‘ having no longer means of policy assigned by the State. The specialized newsletter Mobilettre even talk of a “serious from the State Steering crisis.”
In a statement, the PS deputy Gilles Savary believes it can not be excluded that Jacques Rapoport has wished “to end the legal and financial exposure of the President of SNCF network facing responsibilities and decisions beyond him,” adding that he was subjected to “contradictory injunctions.”
If the legal risk is excluded for Brétigny, RFF is not responsible for track maintenance at the time of the accident, it is not necessarily the case for accidents that occur today. According Gilles Savary, SNCF Network currently has “no financial and human resources to cope with the aging network and the risk of accidents.” And to question the policy “at all TGV”.
“The LGV 4 lines carried the additional debt per year of 1.5 billion to 3 billion while the entire railway law is oriented on controlling debt, “he says. Currently 44 billion euros, of which 37 railway network, the railway debt could exceed 50 billion in 2020.
An opinion shared by the director of Mobilettre Gilles Dansart. “The State asked, via his minister Alain Vidal (…) priority to safeguard the security of the network, but a state version of Bercy, which puts off indefinitely the performance contract supposed to ensure a necessary predictability its industrial action. “
According to a source close to the case, the resignation could also be explained by differences of opinion with the CEO of SNCF, Guillaume Pepy. “It is not excluded him go because he felt totally swallowed up by Guillaume Pepy while the railway law provided a great independence of railway network,” says this source.